DAYTONA 500 PRE-RACE NOTE -- 2-7-97 KYLE PETTY ( ...
DAYTONA 500 PRE-RACE NOTE -- 2-7-97
KYLE PETTY (#44 Hot Wheels Pontiac) -- "The last time I raced the No. 44 was at Daytona in 1979 for the ARCA 200. I ran 44 because my father ran 43, but then when we went to Winston Cup, Terry Labonte had 44, and he was running pretty good -- obviously, he won a championship with it. So I went back to the No. 42, which was a number our family had run in the past, so it was no big deal. The biggest thing for me to be back with the No. 44 is to be associated with Petty Enterprises, it kind of brings our family tie to a closed circle. That's kind of neat, and I'm looking forward to it. Looking back at the 1979 ARCA 200, I probably should never have been in a race car at that point in time of my life, and my parents should have thought more of me than to let me get in one! I don't have anything but fond memories of that race. We had a good time all week long. How can you not have a good time? You bring an 18-year-old to Daytona, and say 'here's a race car, go out and run as fast as you can and have a good time.' And that's what we did. We were fortunate enough to win the race. Steve Hmeil (currently Mark Martin's NASCAR Winston Cup crew chief) was crew chief on the car."
DAYTONA ARCA 200 PRE-RACE QUOTES
ANDY HILLENBURG (No. 1 Gravy Train Dog Food Chevrolet) -- "Honestly, I feel it's a better racing car than a qualifying car. This body was built for racing, and it fits the Winston Cup templates. I feel it will be pretty good for the race. Now, they're taking the qualifying shocks and springs off, and changing the gears. We'll see how it stacks up in final practice, but I feel good for the race. Car owner James Finch has won this race twice (with Jeff Purvis driving), and he feels confident for the race. Listening to him and the guys, I feel good going into Sunday. I feel we'll have 10 cars dishing it out Sunday. If we have a four or five car freight train breaking away after four or five laps, I'll be smiling, but I don't expect that."
MARK THOMPSON (No. 66 Midway Island Ford) -- "Qualifying was the slowest laps we've done all weekend. I think we'll look pretty good for the race. We just went out and practiced with Ron Barfield, and I felt we were relatively fast and stable. I think we'll do alright in the race. We were first to qualify. At 10:30 yesterday morning it was 85 degrees, so we made adjustments based on 85 degree qualifying. Then just before qualifying, a cold front came through, and it must have been 68 degrees. That messed us up. I'm absolutely running for the win. I'll take nothing else."
TIM STEELE (No. 16 HS Die/CIMLINC Ford) -- "Qualifying was a depressing setback. We know we have a car that could have set on the pole, and we washed down two cylinders. I guess that says something for the car, to qualify 10th. Now we've got a good motor in the car and we're ready to rock and roll. We unloaded here with our race setup, and I feel we're ready to race. There's some good cars here, so we'll have to see how the inexperienced people to do in the draft. It's different when you go out there in the draft."